William Asher

Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, William Asher (1921-2012) describes his start in the industry working in the mailroom at Universal Studios. He recalls his first job in television - adapting his short stories for a filmed anthology series called Invitation Playhouse, which he also directed. He discusses his time at Desilu Studios, directing the pilot of Our Miss Brooks, which led directly to his employment on I Love Lucy. Asher details working with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz on the landmark sitcom and talks about his stretch directing at least 100 episodes, beginning in the series' second season (Asher directed the classic "Job Switching" episode, which memorably featured Lucy and Ethel working in a candy factory). Asher briefly describes directing The Thin Man, Willy, and The Danny Thomas Show, and chronicles co-creating the television series The Patty Duke Show with writer Sidney Sheldon. He speaks of creating, producing, and directing Bewitched, starring his then-wife, Elizabeth Montgomery. He also outlines his later work as a director on such series as Alice, Crazy, and Kay O'Brien, the latter of which he also created. Karen Herman conducted the two-part interview on March 31 and April 26, 2000 in Palm Springs, CA. 

"A director has to be the caretaker of the actors and he has to submit to the actors' character, whatever that is, and mix it with the character that he's playing. The other, is that the director's constantly talking or listening. I mean from the moment he arrives on the set he is either talking or listening."

Highlights
Director William Asher on specific episodes of I Love Lucy
11:43
William Asher on co-creating The Patty Duke Show
02:44
William Asher on the genesis and production of Bewitched
20:50
William Asher on directing The Danny Thomas Show pilot; on working with Sheldon Leonard and difficulties with Danny Thomas
William Asher on directing Alice with Linda Lavin
17:30
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early childhood and influences

Chapter 2

On directing I Love Lucy; on the cast - Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, William Frawley, and Vivian Vance; on shooting with three-cameras

Chapter 3

On specific episodes of I Love Lucy with guest-stars William Holden, and Harpo Marx; on physical comedy; on the Danny Thomas Show, Willy, December Bride, Fireside Theater, The Dinah Shore Show, The Thin Man; on working with Shirley Temple, and Peter Lawford; on directing JFK's inaugural and birthday special (with Marilyn Monroe); on The Patty Duke Show

Chapter 4

On The Patty Duke Show; on Bewitched

Chapter 5

On his film career; on working with Sammy Davis Jr., and Martin & Lewis on the Colgate Comedy Hour; on The Danny Thomas Show

Chapter 6

On directing The Dinah Shore Show, Shirley Temple's Storybook, and Bewitched; on casting Elizabeth Montgomery and Agnes Moorehead

Chapter 7

On Bewitched; on the nose-twitch, the cast, the audience's response to the show, and the special effects

Chapter 8

On the writers on Bewitched; on Agnes Moorehead; on directing I Dream of Jeannie  with Barbara Eden; on directing the Jeannie reunion; on working on beach party films with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello; on The Paul Lynde Show

Chapter 9

On directing Temperatures Rising with Paul Lynde, Alice with Linda Lavin, and Tabitha with Lisa Hartman; on creating Kay O'Brien; on career highlights and how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Alice

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William Asher on directing Alice with Linda Lavin
17:30

Bewitched

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William Asher on the genesis and production of Bewitched
20:50
William Asher on directing Bewitched; on directing Elizabeth Montgomery
William Asher on "Samantha's" nose-twich on Bewitched, the sound effect for it, and technical elements of the show
William Asher (Director) on how the special effects were handled on Bewitched, which had a relatively small budget for a TV show
William Asher on Bewitched 's animated title sequence and theme song
William Asher on the writers on Bewitched; on Agnes Moorehead
William Asher on a comparison between Betwitched and I Dream of Jeannie
William Asher on Bewitched and I Love Lucy being his career highlights
03:32

Colgate Comedy Hour, The

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William Asher on directing The Colgate Comedy Hour with Sammy Davis Jr. and other guests

Danny Thomas Show, The aka Make Room for Daddy

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William Asher on directing The Danny Thomas Show pilot; on working with Sheldon Leonard and difficulties with Danny Thomas

Dinah Shore Show, The

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William Asher on Dinah Shore and the difficulties of directing an actor playing themselves

Fireside Theatre

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William Asher on directing Fireside Theater, with Jane Wyman; on working with writer Rod Serling

I Dream of Jeannie

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William Asher on a comparison between Betwitched and I Dream of Jeannie

I Love Lucy

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Director William Asher on specific episodes of I Love Lucy
11:43
William Asher on Bewitched and I Love Lucy being his career highlights
03:32

Kay O'Brien

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William Asher on creating and directing Kay O'Brien, a medical drama with Patricia Kalember
09:03

Patty Duke Show, The

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William Asher on co-creating The Patty Duke Show
02:44
William Asher on the origins of The Patty Duke Show
07:48

Shirley Temple's Storybook

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William Asher on directing Shirley Temple's Storybook

Tabitha

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William Asher on directing Tabitha with Lisa Hartman
13:23

Temperatures Rising

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William Asher on directing Temperatures Rising with Paul Lynde
22:36

Twilight Zone, The

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William Asher on directing an episode of The Twilight Zone
Topics

Pop Culture

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William Asher on Bewitched 's animated title sequence and theme song

TV Theme Songs

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William Asher on Bewitched 's animated title sequence and theme song
Professions

Producers

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William Asher on the role of the producer in television series
People

Patty Duke

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William Asher on co-creating The Patty Duke Show
02:44
William Asher on the origins of The Patty Duke Show
07:48

Elizabeth Montgomery

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William Asher on directing Bewitched; on directing Elizabeth Montgomery

Agnes Moorehead

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William Asher on the writers on Bewitched; on Agnes Moorehead

All Interviews

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